Saturday, April 9, 2011

Interior Ministry

There have been some changes this year when it comes to visas. The Czech Interior Ministry has taken over, from the Foreign Police, the administration of long-term residence permits (green cards).

Brno used to have two foreign police branches. The smaller office was for EU citizens. But you also got to use this office if you were an American, Canadian or Croatian. Then there was the large office when everyone else had to go to. The smaller office was so much better.

This year I had to submit all of my documents to the regional Interior Ministry office. Fortunately, the lady in charge of visas at IBM made an appointment for me so I didn't have to wait in a massive queue. It seems that not many people know you can actually make an appointment.

Beginning in May 2011, non-EU citizens will be issued biometric residence permit cards. I would much rather have a biometric permit card than have to carry my passport around with me all of the time. Unfortunately, I miss the May date because I had to submit my application in April. So I'll get the card the next time I renew my another two years.

The Interior Ministry has taken over visa processing as of January 1st and they are still working out some of the kinks in the system. I'm told that it now takes 3 to 5 weeks to receive the new visa. They will send me a text message when my visa is ready. They will not give you the current status over the telephone.

My current visa expires at the end of April. If I'm stopped by the police after my visa expires then I'm still OK because they will call to verify that my application is pending. If something comes up and I need to leave the ČR then the Interior Ministry will issue me a 2-month visa as a hold over until my 2-year visa is ready. After my trip to the Balkans I don't have anything planned until Paris in May so I shouldn't need a temporary visa.

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